Olivier Pain came up big when it counted on Saturday, cementing his third place position at his teammate Cyril Despres’ expense.
Joan Barreda Bort won the 13th and final stage, with Pain only 40 seconds behind. Despres needed to make about five minutes on Pain to get past him, but he was about two minutes behind him, in fifth for the day, ending his podium hopes.
Helder Rodrigues finished third for the day, and Joan Pedrero Garcia was fourth.
Pain’s third place means the final ranking podium has KTM in first and second, (Marc Coma, then Jordi Viladoms ) and Yamaha in third, with Honda shut out – their highest-ranked rider was Rodrigues, in fifth. Alain Duclos had a good chance of working his way up to the top three earlier and putting Sherco on the podium, but when all was said and done, Duclos had to drop out and the top-ranked Sherco was in 21st.
In the past couple years, it seemed Dakar was almost ready to become a spec series; if a rider expected to do well, he had to work with Team Orange. This year, five of the top 10 riders were aboard KTM, but Honda and Yamaha’s factory pilots were top finishers every day, so things were much more interesting.
At the end of everything, though, it was still veteran Coma who took it all, and if it wasn’t for problems in Stage 4 and Stage 5, Cyril Despres would have been right there with him. If you want to win Dakar, it helps to have a veteran on board.
See the Stage 13 summary below. The final rankings can be found here.